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Albertsons LLC, the privately owned 217-store chain is eliminating the self-checkout units from all of its stores, citing that they preventing the grocer to provide the level of service it wants to deliver to its shoppers.
"Our customers are our highest priority – and we want to provide them with a great experience from the time they park their car to when they leave,” Christine Wilcox, Albertsons LLC spokesperson told Progressive Grocer. “As we’ve changed our stores over the last five years to better meet the needs of customers, we noticed that our Self Checkout Lanes weren’t allowing us to provide the customer service experience that we want people to have when they shop with us."
According to Wilcox, less than half of its stores (approximately 100) have the self-checkout units installed, and they will be removed by the end of the summer. The self-checkouts will be replaced by standard “H” lanes or express lanes, depending on the format of the individual store’s front end.
The benefits of self-checkout are still up for debate; some grocers say they create a perception of reduced service levels, while others say the exact opposite – that shoppers who don’t have to wait to use a self-checkout unit and can avoid the lines of manned units feel they are the ones getting better service.
Still, as an increasing number of products require staff intervention, shoppers’ views of self-checkout may change. Fresh & Easy, which has been 100 percent self-checkout (or what it refers to as “assisted checkout”) since its first stores opened, may need to install one fully-staffed checkout in each store if proposed wine legislation passes.
Assemblywomen Fiona Ma, who represents the Richmond District in the California State Assembly, is the author of AB 183, which the grocer has nicknamed, the "Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law," which has already passed in the California State Assembly is currently in the California State Senate. If AB 183 passes in the senate and is signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, it would ban the sale of alcoholic beverages at self-service checkout stands.